Ochsentreiber, Urschl (d. 1529)

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Urschl (Ursula) Ochsentreiber (Ochsentreiberin), an Anabaptist martyr of the Tyrol, Austria. In 1528-1529 the Anabaptists had won a strong following in Hall near Innsbruck. When the government of Tyrol interfered, they moved to a meadow near Mils. At the head of this group was Peter Egger, the baker, the baker of Hall, who is described in the placard issued against him as a "man with a long red beard," with his young son, and also a cloth shearer of Hall, "the real leader, a stately, brave person with a short, thick red beard."

On 15 August 1529 the judge of Hertenberg in a raid caught about 20 brethren and sisters, but those named above managed to escape. The government ordered the authorities of that region to search for them, so that they would not succeed in reaching the Ziller Valley. The mayor and council of Hall were commanded to guard Egger's house at night in order to catch him if he came to see his family. Meanwhile Erhard Haller had seized three women, Dorothea (Anna) Malerin, Ursula Ochsentreiberin, and Katharina Braunin, who had taken part in the meetings, as the cross-examinations revealed. None would comply with the demand to name other participants in Hall. Nevertheless some other arrests were made. On 14 September the Tyrol government ordered the Hall authorities to bring Malerin before the criminal court as a backslider for breaking her pledge of loyalty (Urfehde), but first to torture her "in a manner suitable for a woman." At the same time the magistrate was censured because the prisoners were lodged together, so that they "with much singing, as they are accustomed to sing in their sect, make themselves heard, which is also listened to publicly by the common man, from which nothing good can come." Furthermore, this merely strengthened and consoled them, for which reason they were to be separated at once and placed in solitary confinement. Anna Malerin was drowned soon afterward.

Braunin seems to have been "converted," since an order of government of October describes the manner of her pardon. Ursula remained steadfast; therefore a mandate of 27 November commanded the authorities of Hall to bring her also before the criminal court. Of her and Anna the Geschicht-Buch boasts that they "armed their feminine spirit with manliness and valor in God, so that many marveled at their steadfastness." She was also drowned in the Inn.

The chronicle of Hall reports for 1528-1529 that many Anabaptists, young and old, men and women, were under cross-examination, some of whom let themselves be converted by the town parson; "two women were condemned to death and drowned, who would not leave the sect." This figure agrees with the list of martyrs in the Hutterite chronicles. The fate of the two became the theme of the song, preserved in the Pressburg Codex, "An unsern Frauen Tag geschah."


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Author(s) Paul Dedic
Date Published 1959

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MLA style

Dedic, Paul. "Ochsentreiber, Urschl (d. 1529)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1959. Web. 11 Jul 2020. https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Ochsentreiber,_Urschl_(d._1529)&oldid=144055.

APA style

Dedic, Paul. (1959). Ochsentreiber, Urschl (d. 1529). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 11 July 2020, from https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Ochsentreiber,_Urschl_(d._1529)&oldid=144055.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, p. 17. All rights reserved.

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